Walter Hirche

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Walter Hirche (2013)

Karl Walter Hirche (born February 13, 1941 in Leipzig ) is a German politician ( FDP ). He was Minister of Economic Affairs in Lower Saxony and Brandenburg , Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry and for many years chairman of the Free Democrats in Lower Saxony.

From 2002 to 2014, Hirche was President of the German Commission for UNESCO .

Life and work

After graduating from high school, Hirche completed a teaching degree in history, French and political science in Heidelberg and Grenoble , which he finished in 1973 as a teaching assistant. During his studies, Hirche was, among other things, a member of the Afrania Leipzig Landsmannschaft , AStA chairman in Heidelberg and 1966/67 chairman of the Association of German Student Associations (VDS), and from 1968 to 1970 senate representative of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg .

From 1969 to 1972 he headed the state office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Lower Saxony and was then state manager of the FDP Lower Saxony from 1973 to 1975 . From 1978 to 1982 he worked as a business archivist at Preussag AG.

Walter Hirche is married and has two sons.

Political party

Hirche has been a member of the FDP since 1970. From 1994 to 2006 he was state chairman of the Lower Saxony FDP. Hirche was a member of the Presidium of the Federal FDP from 1984 to 1995 and from 1997 to 1999. Since March 2009 he has been honorary chairman of the Lower Saxony FDP.


Walter Hirche was a member of the Lower Saxony state parliament from 1974 to 1978, from 1982 to 1990 and again from 2003 to 2008 . In 1978 and from 1982 to 1986 he was chairman of the FDP parliamentary group .

Between 1994 and 2002 Hirche was a member of the German Bundestag and from 1998 to 2002 deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group . Hirche always entered the Bundestag via the Lower Saxony state list .

Public offices

After the state elections in 1986, Hirche was appointed Minister of Economics, Technology and Transport to the state government of Lower Saxony led by Prime Minister Ernst Albrecht ( CDU ). After the CDU-FDP coalition lost its majority in the state elections in 1990, Hirche left the cabinet and in the same year was appointed Minister of Economics, SMEs and Technology in the Brandenburg state government headed by Manfred Stolpe ( SPD ) . Even before the state elections in 1994, he declared that he would no longer be available as a minister and ran for the Bundestag on the Lower Saxony state list.

On November 17, 1994, he was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the Federal Government led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl and left office on October 26, 1998 after the 1998 Bundestag election .

After the CDU and FDP were able to replace the sole SPD government under Sigmar Gabriel in the 2003 state elections , Hirche was appointed to the cabinet headed by Christian Wulff as Minister for Economics, Labor and Transport and Deputy Prime Minister on March 4, 2003 . As announced, he resigned from his post on February 18, 2009; his successor as minister was Philipp Rösler .

In 2009, Hirche became a member of the “Corporate Finance Steering Council” in the German Economic Fund . Since March 2011 he has been a member of the ethics committee for secure energy supply .

Accompanied driving

As Lower Saxony's Minister of Transport, Walter Hirche played a special role in the introduction of accompanied driving , also known colloquially as the “driver's license from 17”. It was his initiative in particular, which he pushed against strong resistance from ADAC and traffic watch , but also against the great mistrust of the other federal states. In 2004 a scientifically supported model test started in Lower Saxony. The scientific results were available from 2007 and attested the model a clear success in reducing the number of accidents. The Bundestag followed suit as early as 2005 and since 2008 all federal states have adopted this regulation.

Wulff-Fard controversy

Under the management of Hirche, the building contractor Ali Memari Fard , with whom Hirche and Christian Wulff are friends, received 18 million euros in state subsidies. Hirche is said to have overridden competition rules and tender conditions. The ARD political magazine Monitor speaks of a “ aftertaste ” in this context .

Other mandates

honors and awards

See also

Web links

Commons : Walter Hirche  - Collection of Images


  1. Model project: Lower Saxony starts “accompanied driving at 17” on, accessed on April 3, 2016
  2. Monitor broadcast of February 2, 2012 ( Memento of February 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Composition of the Supervisory Board and Management Board He resigned from office; Philipp Rösler was his successor
  4. Annual Report 2008. Retrieved on November 29, 2018 .